Given the title of this piece, you probably already know if you care to invest a few minutes into these words...
Every cat means a little something different - and that's part of the charm of owning cats.
Two days ago one of our cats, Babygirl - whom we’d raised and had for four years - was killed by a reckless driver on our street. We know this thanks to a witness. (For the purposes of this piece, from here on out “I/me/my/etc.” frequently means “we/us/our/etc.”)
Babygirl was undeniably the sweetest cat I’d ever owned. So dainty that she’d even somehow, over the years, gotten to the point where she refused to crap in her litter box and always demanded to go outside. This was my fault for having trained her to be an indoor/outdoor cat from kittenhood. My house has three streets surrounding it as well as a high school a stone’s throw away. I live in a bad place to have outdoor cats.
But Babygirl was living on borrowed time anyway, and I’d always reckoned she’d made ample use of her 9 lives. I lost her on three different occasions and managed to get her back each time (the first was even on a Christmas Eve). Her premature passing was something I’d pretty much come to view as inevitable.
Before Babygirl, I lost Inuyasha - also thanks to a car! He rocked and was the least problematic cat I’d ever owned. And he looked like Batman, which I always thought was kinda cool. When he passed, Babygirl seemed lonely, so I wanted her to have a new friend – only any hypothetical new cat would not be allowed outside.
Enter Scorpius, who is not only the biggest pain in the ass of a cat you can imagine, but he’s strictly indoors and clearly doesn’t want to be. Tough titty, kitty -- I’m in charge. Luckily he makes up for his shortcomings with ample amounts of personality, which in the cat world is pretty valuable. Scorpy was chosen from the many at the pound because he was black and took an instant liking to me. I've reminded him time and again that without my intervention he'd likely have been gassed or offered up as a sacrifice by some lame Goth cult. This doesn't appear to matter much to His Highness.
But back to my beloved Babygirl. I had to clean up her remains, which, as you pet lovers might guess, wasn’t easy. I wanted to bury her in our backyard. Sounds simple, right? Not so. The spot I picked was so heavy with roots and rock that before getting less than a foot in I gave up. We also have rampant raccoon and possum problems, and the idea of something digging her up due to an inept burial didn’t set well with me. So I call animal control - an apparently miniscule division of the Alamo Heights police department. Guess what? “Animal control has the week off.”
“We usually tell people to double or triple bag the pet so a feral animal won’t get to it, and then just put it out in the garbage”, the voice said. That was on Tuesday and I quite frankly didn't have another reasonable solution. I was, however, insistent that nothing else other than she be placed in that can before pickup day.
This morning I woke up extra early so I could meet the garbage truck. If I didn’t feel like a total shitbag at this point, presiding over my little Babygirl's unceremonious dumping into a truck with used tampons and half-eaten burritos certainly sent me over the edge – or at least sent me far enough to write a “dead cat” entry, which two days ago smacked of improbability.
So I run out to the garbage truck when it pulls up. Goddamn these guys are pros! He’s already got her bag in his hands when I get out there, and I – like an idiot – say, “That’s my cat in there! She was killed a couple days ago and I just…” The words pretty much trailed off after that. I said something about the animal control call and what I was instructed to do. He calls over a supervisor. I tell him the same thing and he gives me a blank stare. There are like four of these guys, each handling some different aspect of the job[!?] and all speaking Spanish. They just wanna do what they have to do, dead cat or not – and I can’t really blame them. Are they supposed to hold a fucking funeral every time some suburbanite runs out waving his arms? I explained to him that yeah, I know how stupid I sound, but I just kinda wanted to be here. He says nothing, but his eyes call me a fucking pussy. Into the garbage truck my Babygirl went and I wondered exactly what the point was of me getting up to put myself through all this.
So here I am, sharing with you dear reader the goriest of details. There is no concrete end to this tale, and certainly no moral. I hope that I do not sound heartless, as I did my best by my Babygirl, who once upon a time - when she was tiny - shit in various corners of our house. I loved her regardless. I loved her even though, unlike my other cats, I was allergic to her. I loved her even when she woke me up at 5 in the morning wanting to go outside. I loved her immensely when I got her back that Christmas Eve.
And I believe, as much as a cat can, she loved me. Even though she was probably allergic to me, too.